Book Review: Frame 232 by Wil Mara

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I was giving the opportunity to review this book, from Tyndale. And because of that, I must mention that Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. That said, my opinions of this book are solely my own, and are not influenced by anyone.

The book, Frame 232, is based on the Kennedy assasination and a frame of footage caught by someone labeled the babushka lady. Sheila Baker discovers, that her mother is the one known as the babushka lady, and that she has left her a piece of film that she must then decide what her mother couldn’t decide. To destroy the film or expose the secrets revealed on the film. Deciding that she can’t let this piece of history be destroyed, she also understands that the chances of someone hunting her down would be really high to keep the secret contained within from leaking out. Not sure what to do, Sheila does research and turns to Jason Hammond for help. From here, this is where the adventure truly begins.

My first inclination when I was reading the book was whether or not this was a Christian book, then remembered it came from a Christian publishing house. Despite that, the book was not heavily involved with religion. There was just enough, to be able to label it as a Christian fiction.

However, it was the story itself that drew me in. It captured me from the first page all the way to the end, making it harder to put down, wanting to find out what was going to happen. For me, there was enough suspense, drama and intrigue. Plus enough reality to make it a truly enjoyable read. I enjoyed the historical aspects and the plot, kept me intrigued.

Here are some questions asked of the author, and his answers.

*How much research did you do for this project?
An unbelievable amount. I spoke with assassination experts, read literally hundreds and books and articles, pored over countless photos…you name it. My goal was to write a fictional story around the established facts rather than alter the facts to serve the story. Thus, I had to know pretty much everything. I ended up loading my brain with more data than I really needed…but I didn’t mind.

*What have you learned about the real Babushka Lady?
She was wearing an overcoat, glasses, and a head scarf (i.e., a babushka), and was standing about thirty feet from the limousine when the president took the fatal shot. Most assassination experts believe she was also holding a camera—very possibly a film camera. If so, and if she had a reasonably steady hand, then she probably took the best moving images of the assassination; even better than the famed
Zapruder film. Plus, she was standing opposite Zapruder, which afforded her a unique angle. And yet, we don’t know her name, and her film has never surfaced. And here’s the most important part about her in relation to Frame 232—she was a real person. I didn’t invent her to serve the story. If you do a Google search, you’ll find her.

*What do you have planned for your future Jason Hammond books?
Jason will be tackling other high-profile (and, later on, some lesser-known) mysteries as the series progresses. Readers will also get to follow his ongoing struggles as he rebuilds his faith and gradually assembles his ‘new normal.’ Plus, we’ll further explore the lives of those around him (including a budding love interest, who will appear in the second book). It’s also worth noting that not every book in the series will follow a strictly linear chronology. The one I’m writing now, for example (The Nevada Testament) begins about six weeks after Frame 232. The one I’ll write after that, however (Gardner Island), occurs before the events of Frame 232 and will feature, among other things, some of Jason’s darker and more harrowing moments.

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